Saturday, August 31, 2013

Welcome to Our Sept Linky Party and Design Team Challenge!

Welcome to our Sept Linky Party,  DT Challenge and My Altered Fairy Garden. I'm on vacation so I set this up ahead and DT Members Vicki, Sheila and Kathy will be doing posts while I'm away and Shelley is back filling orders! Lucky us - in Spain and France for our 35th anniversary (see my budget travel tips).   

Please click on each of the Design Team ladies links below to see their fabulous creations! Then scroll to the bottom to enter our Linky Party and receive a $6.00 CS Gift Card to use in our store. A winner will also get a $50 gift card! You have until Mon, Aug 9, 12:05 AM to enter. 

Sadly, I have to say that Melissa Bove had to drop our DT but may be back if she gets more time and less stress.  We were honored to have her and I have to create a gallery of all her awesome samples!

I decided to use our Altered Fairy Scraps (only $1.95 now!) to make a little fairy garden to for a glass dome I found at a garage sale last week. I tried to see if anyone sells them and saw some domes on Ebay  but you could also use a little bird cage, a tea cup, plant pot, add them to a card and more. There are so many bits and pieces on this double sided sheet you can make multiple fairies and alter photos as well.

Two of the fairies remind me of my niece and nephew so I asked them to pick out all the accessories. Arissa wanted the cat and Kason picked the puppy and bird. There are so excited as Grandma gets to keep the Fairy Garden and she babysits (my mom and dad live downstairs).

I wanted a 3D look so I glued some wings together and found a glue gun worked great. I used it to glue spanish moss on a piece of green foam, wire to the heart earth balloon and little wood skewers on the backs to stick in the foam. 

I like the way the double wings look

In the end they picked out so many bits and pieces I couldn't get the dome over everything!

So I ended up putting them back to back and it worked great because the card stock is double sided so there are designs on the backside. I still need to add some glitter and a few gems and make up a enchanting little fairy story to tell them. 

Okay, now it's your turn to enter a sample you have created in our Linky Party. Click on the link below to add a sample you have created using any Crafty Secrets products (up to 4) and receive a $6.00 gift card (1 per person) and a winner will be announced next Mon, Sept 9 to also receive a $50.00 CS Gift Card!

Wishing you joy and creativity 

Sandy Redburn Owner  

Our Online Shopatron Store  (sorry No digital products)

Visit us on Facebook with over 5770 Fans!  

This Blog: 
Our Website:
  Toll Free Phone or Fax 1-888 597-8898 

Local Phone 604 597-8817
  Crafty Secrets Head Office 

15430 78 A Ave., Surrey, BC V3S 8R4 USA Warehouse 250 H. Street, #436
Blaine,WA 98230
Friday, August 30, 2013

10 Best Budget and Travel Tips, Off to Spain and France, Winner and Samples!

Hi Everyone,  you can scroll down to see my 10 Best Budget Travel Tips.

My husband Scott loves to travel so much he sold his beloved motorcycle to surprise me with a trip to Spain and France for our 35th anniversary and we leave tomorrow! Part of me said - no, we shouldn't being going and the other part is screaming YES!  I had to laugh when I saw this perfect card that DT Member Melissa Bove made using our Wine Lovers Digital Set

He searched around on the Internet and found a great deal on airfare, accommodations and a car and we talked 2 friends in to going last minute (actually that was easy).  We are meeting up with 2 of our daughters for 3 nights in Barcelona.  My shipper Shelley is back from her chemo and feeling great and Jessica is going to look after the office.

Before I tell you more, I also need to announce the winner for the 6 Digital Stamp Sets Giveaway - #2 , Jennifer Scull.  Thanks to everyone who entered and for all your feedback - which is really helpful and affirms we are on the right track!   I also have some great samples to show you
I've said before how much Scott loves to travel. He sold his sport car and bought a $500.00 car in 1978 so we could go on a amazing honeymoon. When he was just 14 his father died of a heart attack and he has always said his best memories were of the family vacations they took and how his dad only had a couple of years until he would have retired.   Life goes by in a flash so I think it's important to have adventures. You don't need to wait until everything is perfect or spend a pile of money - just go! 

Have you gone on any adventures or taken trips this summer?  I love all the fun ideas in these samples created with our Travel Scraps
Our double sided Travel Scraps on sale for $1.95 now

Look at this great 'guy' card that Marie-Alice posted on Splitcoast recently using our Car Classics Stamps, now a Digital Car Classics Set for $9.95.  The way she matched the car to her map colors and matting looks great and the brads look like destination markers.

 Map paper is so popular and works so well for guy cards and background paper. We added some map paper and travel words and images on CD 3.

 I have a few tips to share today from years of learning ways to save on travel and I will do a big photo post when I get home like My Trip and Tips to French Flea Markets, Antiques, Brocante Sales  I did 2 years ago after Paris.    UPDATE: I'm back home and here are links to 3 vacation photo posts:  Barcelona , Costa Brava Spain and Provence France Markets and Shops

1.  Don't go when everyone else is going.  You can save money on airfare and accommodations if you go just when it changes to the 'off season rates' which is Sept for many parts of Europe, plus Sept or Spring often provides perfect weather, not too hot or cold. Don't go in Aug when many locals have the month off. The roads are busy and many businesses close. 

2. Renting a car can save $ and give you freedom to travel to all the small villages and see the sites but you may not want a car in big cities with crazy drivers and parking.  We don't need a car for the first 3 nights we are in Barcelona where we can hop on the metro.  When we leave Barcelona we rented a car for 2 weeks which cost $400.00 CDN divided by 4 = $100.00 each (plus gas and tolls) but still less than trains and tours, or being stuck in 1 spot.  That being said - the trains in Europe are super fast and organized!

More Tips for Traveling by Car - Car rentals can be twice as much if you pick up and drop off in  different location, so try and do it from the airport you fly in and out off. Ask for a diesel car which is less costly  than gas. Automatics cost more to rent than a standard and many roads are very narrow in old towns so compact cars work best.  Make sure you have a bunch of change for toll booths, especially if you travel on major highways - there are so many tolls!  We like to use the country side roads (the old highways) which are so much more scenic and take you through all the villages.   The gas stations on the freeways sell Michelin Maps for far less than 

3. You can save money by renting a house instead of staying in hotels which is great for family and friends traveling. Also consider a B&B's. Look at HolidayRentals on Trip Advisor and sites like VRBO - Vacation Rentals by Owner or  and specify your price. Both houses we rented in Spain and France have swimming  pools, full kitchens, look beautiful and work out to about $75.00 per bedroom a night for a 3 bdrm house. You can save money by making meals like breakfast, pack a picnic lunch and BBQ some dinners.

 4. Search by price from $ to $$$$ for accommodations and restaurants and try typing in just 1 $ and $$ dollar signs to see the least expensive and then look at the reviews to see how high they rank. We found great places in $$ range!  Note: you often have to rent for a week but we plan to do day trips every day to explore different outdoor markets in the villages and we can drive all the way to Italy in less than 2 hours if we like.

5. Travel Light for a few reasons - you may be charged if you bring more than the allotted amount your airline allows and you can shop and not worry about your bags being too heavy coming home. Once in Europe you can fly all over super cheap on Ryan AirEasy Jet and other airlines but they will kill you on luggage. Consider stowing extra bags in a locker or at a hotel and fly with a small carry on or back pack. You can pick up the extra luggage before you head home. 

6. Things to Pack  - A. a electrical converter as the outlets are a different voltage than in the US. You will need one to run a blow dryer, curling iron, ipad and cell phone charger but amazon sells them for less than $3.00.  B. Consider bringing your cell phone. You can buy a data package and texting can be vital to communicate, plus you can use the camera on the phone.  C. package of wipes, nice ones like the kind you use to take makeup off, not the harsh disinfectant ones that transfer worse chemicals into your skin than the germs you're trying to remove.  D. bring an extra camera battery or a charger.  E.  a travel umbrella or a least a jacket with a hood. F. I loved having my Kindle to read and it fits in my purse. G. Bring some healthy snacks for the long flight like almonds and granola bars. H. Inflatable neck pillow

7.  Bring Euros in cash instead of using your Visa all the time.  Traveler's checks are a pain to use and there are ATM machines everywhere but contact your bank to see how much the service fees are and let your credit card company know you will be traveling.  I think we had a $3 Euro charge when we took out 200 Euros. 

8. Shop and eat where the locals do instead of tourists and you can save a bundle.
we had a rule not to spend more than 5 Euros on a bottle of wine in local grocery stores (supermarché) and drank fantastic wines the entire trip! This is where we also bought staples like milk, yogurt, etc that we didn't find at the outdoor markets.  I just added the photos of the Paella and roast chicken that is often sold at most outdoor town markets.

9. Learn a few phrases so you don't feel entirely helpless, plus it's polite to try and converse. Here's a good link to popular French 'shopping vocabulary'.   It's considered rude not to say Bonjour to a shop keeper when you go into a store.  

10.  Eating Out at Restaurants -  Dinner is usually around 8 PM. The French like to linger over meals and the waiter won’t bring you the bill until you ask.  Tipping is factored into the price of the food, so you don’t need to tip like we do in North America but you can leave the change with a few Euros. Some touristy restaurants charge for the bread they leave at your table. Ice is not as important as in North America. Ask for tap water if you don't want to pay for mineral water. The house wine is usually good and less money.  Many restaurants offer great specials on a set 3 or 4 course menu. Often I would order 1 entree and we would share a salad and the dessert from the 3 course Scott would order. 


Come back and see my Fairy Garden at our Linky Party this Monday, Sept  2/13.  DT Members Vicki Chrisman, Sheila Rumney and Kathy Clement are also going to take turns posting on the Blog while I'm away.

Next, I wanted to show you this lovely digital layout that DT Member Sheila Rumney created of her pretty niece using our Double Sided Classic Damask Pink/Scene Papers

Also, check out this beautiful Sunflower card by Lori Craig from Splitcoast Stampers that she colored with Distress Markers. It's too bad the Clear Sunflower Set just sold out but on the new Digital Sunflower Set  the flower is 6.5 x 9"H,  large enough to make wall art or shrink down to pendant size.

MY brother will be staying here with his kids and my mom and dad.  I took this photo today when they were checking out the fairy garden I'm building for them.

Come back this Monday, Sept 2 to see our Sept Linky Party and Design Team Challenge.  I will have my Fairy Garden Photos and I'm in awe of some of the projects I've seen by our DT ladies!  Join in the fun and post a project you have created and receive a $6.00 coupon and be entered to win a $50.00 CS Gift Card!

Bon Voyage!

Sandy Redburn Owner  

Our Online Shopatron Store  (sorry No digital products)

Visit us on Facebook with over 5770 Fans!  

This Blog:
Our Website:
Toll Free Phone or Fax 1-888 597-8898
Local Phone 604 597-8817
Crafty Secrets Head Office
15430 78 A Ave.,
Surrey, BC V3S 8R4
USA Warehouse
250 H. Street, #436

Blaine, WA 98230
Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pros & Cons of Digital, 6 New Digital Stamp Set Giveaway and Cool Samples!

Hello to Our New and Old Subscribers,

I've wanted to do a post listing the Pros, the Myths and Cons of using Digital Stamps and Printables because I'm convinced the Pros out weigh the Cons and there are too many negative myths.  Digital Paper Crafting has earned a right along side traditional stamps and paper as a valuable creative art tool.  I would love to hear what you think and if you know any advantages or disadvantages I may have missed?  Leave a comment and tell me which sets you like and I will announce a Winner - Friday 1 pm PST, Aug 30/13 to receive all 6 Digital Art Stamp Sets below (or pick others).

This digital poppy embroidery tutorial by Vicki shows a creative way you can use a digital image.     

 Also, scroll down to see samples of our 6 Clear Art Stamp Sets that have sold out or are low in stock and have been turned into Digital Art Stamp Downloads with Bathing Beauties, Fairies,  Costume Cuties,   Winter Wishes,   Snow Globes and Christmas Express all available to download now!

Digital paper crafting is fantastic in that it can can be enjoyed from a very novice technical level of simply learning how to click on an image and print it to extremely sophisticated level of creating digital art  

Pros and Advantages of Digital Stamps & Printables
Versatility - You can re-size digital images to fit different size projects, or a punch, die, etc you own . You can also flip the direction, edit and change an image by erasing, copying, layering, pasting and print designs in any color.

Freedom to Choose - you can go 100% digital just using your computer and not even print anything – just email or add projects to an online album or gallery, which is a great way to email invitations or share a scrapbook album with relatives.  You can also do a mix (hybrid), which is popular and perfect for card making, paper crafts and home décor projects – as you print digital stamps and images and then add 3D layers, ink edges, add ribbon, glitter or any embellishments.  

Convenience – you can shop anytime and anywhere in the world, you don’t have to pay any shipping or wait for an order to arrive. You can download what you buy right away. Plus the files are easily portable if you want to transfer images to a CD or flash drive, or maybe print a bunch to color at your leisure anywhere you might be. 

Digital Stamps and Printables Take Less Space  - Way less space, plus you can easily organize them into themes so it's easy to find everything. 
Digital Stamps and Image Printables Save Money as they cost less than traditional stamps or printed paper and you don’t pay any shipping. You can also change the color of stamps without buying numerous pads of expensive ink (some ink pads dry out so fast). With digital papers, I love that you can crop and print just what you want and re-print a favorite image over and over. Plus – you can print on different mediums to suit your project, so print a paper design on card stock for a card then on light weight paper for a decoupage project.

Longer Shelf Life and Less Messy - as long as your digital stamp and image files are safely stored on a computer, you can use them over and over for years and they will print just as clear and crisp as day one.  You won’t have to clean dirty stamps or battle with clear stamps that have lost their cling. Plus – if you make a change you don’t like to a digital file just click your ‘Back Button’ to take a step back. 

It’s Way Easier to Print Large Size Designs and as you know if can take several stamping attempts to get a large size design to stamp evenly but you can print a huge digital design crystal clear over and over no problem.

Digital Stamps and Printables are Eco Friendly and don’t waste any packaging or the expense of shipping

Some Myths About Digital Stamps and Printables

You Need Expensive Software to Use Digital Stamps Myth - Nope, today with all of the free and low cost programs available you don’t need to shell out a pile of money.  I have a Printable List of Free Image Editing Programs with links for low cost ink and tips, plus many people simply use Microsoft Word or Paint – 2 programs often pre-installed on computers. The most popular digital program is Photoshop Elements and I saw a new #10 edition (as good as 11) for $39.95 on Ebay today with free shipping, or if you have a Mac computer Gimp is a free program or – check out this cool Pixelmator editing software Apple released for Mac computers for a intro price of $14.99.

You Need to Be a Computer Whiz to Use Digital Images Myth –  I use to feel intimidated technically until I saw how easy it was to re-size and print a image. Digital paper crafting is fantastic in that it can can be enjoyed from a very novice technical level of simply learning how to click on an image and print it to extremely sophisticated level of  creating digital art. We have a wide range of free and easy to follow Tutorials on Pintrest  and the internet is filled with information. 

Digital Stamps are Low Quality Clip Art Myth –  Like every industry there is good and bad quality but today there is a vast and varied selection of fabulous artwork styles and themes available in digital stamps and printables. Clip Art tends to be lower resolution. Digital Stamps and images should be 300 dpi or ppi (dots per inch or pixels per inch). Our Clear Art Stamps were known for their high quality detailed vintage designs and we have found as they continue to sell out the images are bigger as new Digital Art Stamp Sets – often twice the size with the same vintage detail people love.

Digital Paper Crafting Stifles Creativity Myth   Some people believe if they use digital images they can't get all inky and alter or distress their creations but you can use a printed image many ways you would a stamped image - except embossing isn't as easy. Once you learn how to layer stamps you can create a fabulous 'hand stamped look'. Digital images and paper opens up all sorts of creative options!

Cons and Disadvantages of Digital Stamps and Printables?

You Need a Computer and Printer - but prices have dropped, quality has improved and both are so multi useful most households have a computer and printer or have access.  I love my Cannon IX6520 Printer which prints up to 13" x 17", allows me to print on canvas, and various card stocks and the price fluctuates but is usually less than $135.00 

Ink Can be Expensivebut you don’t need to use expensive name brand ink.  You can order quality  ‘Compatible ink’ specifically made for your printer and saved $$. We have been using compatible ink from the Ink Farm and Ink Grabber for years to print all our samples and 1,000's have switched and saved a bundle on printing. Just be sure to use a reputable provider who sells compatible ink for your printer model. Ink Grabber has free shipping or 20% off and order until the end of the month if you use the codes below.  
*** UPDATE - I'm back to add this great news - Matt from Ink Farm just offered all Crafty Secrets Customers 15% off and Free S&H Forever! Just use code: craftyink

Ink Can Bleed if You Have a Inkjet Printer - but there are several ways to stop this. 

You can heat seal the printed image with a heat tool, hair dryer, or cover with paper and use your iron to set the ink.  Some people find letting the ink set for just a day also works or you can give it a spray with Krylon Matte Finish (I also read hairspray?) to seal and start coloring right away. Printing on quality matte card stock also helps.

You Can't 'Stamp' Using Ink or Use Embossing Powder  - True but you can change your digital stamp to 1000's of colors and use an embossing pen.  Of course there are times when actual stamps are the perfect choice.

Digital Stamps remind me of Kindle Books. I would never give up some of my books but I sure adore my Kindle and love the way it's expanded my reading options! 

I love the Inktense Water color Pencils DT Member Michele Kovack used on these 3 cards she made with our Vegetable Garden Digital Stamp Set. It would be difficult to have clear stamps this large stamp as nicely or include the amazing variety of 40 designs we included on the set for $9.95. 

Here's our Bathing Beauty Digital Art Stamp Set. The original clear set has sold out.

 DT Member Kathy Clement just starting using our CD's, Digital Stamps and Printables this year and she still loves regular stamping but say's she loves all the creative flexibility digital offers. Check out this cool folding card and altered gift box she created using Bathing Beauty and Seaside Digital Stamps and Papers with our Travel Scraps.
 Here's our Fairies Digital Stamp Set which is only $5.95

 Here's a sample inspiration page included with the Fairies Download. Our Design Team are just receiving these new digital sets so watch for cool new samples I will post on the Blog.
 I love how big and cute the images are in this digital version of Costume Cuties for $9.95! We still have a few Clear Sets left marked down to $12.50 but they won't display right now for some reason so email me if you want one at .

Here's a inspiration sample page included in the Costume Cuties Digital Download. Our Design Team are just receiving these new digital sets so watch for cool new samples I will post on the Blog.

Winter Wishes is one of my most favorite sets.  The children's and snowman's faces are so adorably sweet!

 Here's a inspiration sample page included in the Winter Wishes Digital Download. Our Design Team are just receiving these new digital sets so watch for cool new samples I will post on the Blog.

 Here is the new Snow Globes Digital Stamp Set .  The Clear Set is sold out.

Here's a inspiring Sample Idea Page included in the download. Our Design Team are just receiving these new digital sets so watch for cool new samples I will post on the Blog. 

Lastly, our Christmas Express Digital Stamp Set   for only $5.95 is filled with cool mail art style designs and the ticket strip is 7" long now! We need to do a tutorial showing how you can layer the mail art stamps and create a beautiful vintage Christmas postcard. 

I hope you found this post helpful and maybe had some questions answered about using digital stamps and printables.  I would love to hear any feedback and ideas you have! Leave any comment here to be entered to WIN all 6 Digital Stamp Sets shown and I will announce a winner this Friday, Aug 30/13

PS - Did you know all our Clear Art Stamp Sets and printed items such as Vintage Stickers,  Image Booklets, Cotton Scraps, Creative Scraps and Cuts have all been marked down further? Often when having items printed I had to get 3000 to 5000 of each design printed and have a bunch of stock and need to sell it all - so check out our great sale pricing!

Wishing you joy and creativity

Sandy Redburn Owner  
Our Online Shopatron Store  (sorry No digital products)

Visit us on Facebook with over 5770 Fans!  

This Blog:
Our Website:
Toll Free Phone or Fax 1-888 597-8898
Local Phone 604 597-8817
Crafty Secrets Head Office
15430 78 A Ave.,
Surrey, BC V3S 8R4
USA Warehouse
250 H. Street, #436
Blaine,WA 98230